A new study by Verizon and KRC Research shows that nearly half (49 percent) of American mobile phone owners have broken or lost a mobile phone and, on average, have broken or lost two. For most of us, our smartphones have become a cherished necessity — our primary mode of communications, calendar, camera, Rolodex and wallet all wrapped into a single device. Our smartphones could even be likened to our companions, as they are first and last items we interact with at the beginning and end of each day, and they accompany us everywhere we work and play.
While portability lends for greater convenience and connectivity, it also paves the way for potential exposure to some of the most common causes of smartphone damage. These five everyday threats will not (and shouldn’t) threaten our connections to our smartphones, but they are certainly worth considering as you choose which mobile device is best suited for your lifestyle, temperament, and work conditions:
- Sporting Events can be pretty rough terrain for spectators and their mobile devices. According to SquareTrade, 23 million Americans have damaged their phones while watching a sporting event. 33 percent of accidents involve merely dropping the device on the ground, while 18 percent are liquid drops (with 13 percent specifically beer drops!), and 12 percent of incidents are considered “passion drops,” when a device is intentionally hurled out of anger or excitement.
- The Toilet happens to be the Bermuda Triangle for smartphones. The loo is one of the most common sites for smartphone water damage, with others being swimming pools and sinks. According to Plaxo, nearly 20 percent of Americans have dropped their phones in the toilet and Protect Your Bubble found that men are 57 percent percent more likely to drop their phones in toilets than women, as they tend to carry smartphones in their back pockets while women are more inclined to carry them in their purses.
- Workplace mishaps can occur on virtually any jobsite, but for those who work in outdoor and on-the-go industries such as construction, retail, transportation, and utilities, the risks of exposure to drops, dust, and moisture are far greater than to those working behind a desk. Recon Analytics estimates that the smartphone replacement cycle was 26.5 months as of 2014, but is certainly far less than that for anyone working at great heights, in extreme weather, or on dirty jobsites.
- Texting while walking was the cause of emergency rooms visits for more than 1,500 pedestrians according to a study in 2010, which also predicted that number to double by 2015. And if you go down as a result of walking and texting, you can bet your smartphone is going to hit the deck with you.
- Youth is the most common trait among sufferers of smartphone damage, with millennials dropping their phones twice as many times per week than Gen Xers or Baby Boomers (an average of four times per week). This statistic is a bit ironic when considering that 40 percent of millennials believe that losing their phones would be a bigger hardship than losing their automobiles.
The smartphone can be a significant investment when considering retail price and associated service costs over its lifespan. You can exercise greater caution and take your chances with the device’s inherent durability (or lack thereof), purchase an expensive case that hampers the device’s usability, or select a rugged smartphone that is designed to withstand the threats that are inherent to your everyday life, the toughest environments, and the most common mishaps.
John is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles. When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays, concerts and sports teams.